Adult’s Picture Book Volume 1: First and Last Name



Have you ever felt like you wanted to feel a punch to your gut? Ever wanted to suffer through casual heartbreak and ego death? Adult’s Picture Book- New Edition volume 1 delivers that and a hell of a lot more in the span of a single volume. I’m sure any that have found this review are aware of the concept, but I’ll reiterate it for those that haven’t.

Souichirou Kudou is a man that had one friend, one real friend in his life- Haruki Jinno. That friend had a daughter, that Kudou finds himself the caretaker of due to Haruki’s sudden death. Left with heavy memories and emotions due to his friends passing, and the weight and stress of suddenly having a daughter, Kudou ends up proposing on the spot to a woman that looks just like Haruki. She accepts, and they become a family struggling to find their place in the world.

It’s arguably the most odd setup you could potentially have for this sort of story, but it’s such a gut wrenching experience. Kudou is let loose in a world that’s lost its sunshine, instead having little Kiki take its place as a black hole of feelings and memories and further introducing Fusako as a constant reminder of Haruki. In a way, I think you could describe Kudou’s challenges as an obsession. He, of all people in this predicament, is the one that can’t let go of Haruki. Everywhere he looks, everywhere he tries to live his life, he finds remnants of his past with the young man.

It’s like Kudou can never take his eyes off of Haruki. Even after his death, after gaining a daughter and a wife and creating a family, the only thing that they mean to him is connections to Haruki. Connections to the love that he could never confess, or the life he could never have. Even though he’s living something so incredibly close to what he desired, he’s unable to distance himself from Haruki. It’s the ultimate love sickness, and Kudou’s nature makes it worse. Kudou idolized Haruki, and that relationship only served to turn Kudou into a selfish man.

He might love Kiki, but that’s because she’s Haruki’s daughter. He might have some semblance of feelings for Fusako, but that comes from how much she reminds Kudou of Haruki. Every single thought that Kudou expresses is channelled through a past with Haruki, and it creates this incredibly painful distance from the people around him that do want him to be happy.

And truthfully, I think that’s what Adult Picture Book volume 1 is about- Kudou’s obsessive spiralling that distances himself from everyone else. Fusako and Kiki hit it off right away, Kudou’s old friend Ban offers a warning that Kudou ignores, and he continually disregards the opinions of his assistant. Through his eyes, he can only see Haruki, and that’s caused him to lose sight of what’s in front of him- the daughter that he takes care of, the woman that he’s married, the friends and people around him that support him. He’s unable to see the forest from the trees and because of trauma and emotions is only able to contextualize the world through Haruki. The things he loved about the man that passed away are present in Fusako, but he can’t think of her as her own person- she’s just a visage of someone else.

The world existed so that Kudou could love Haruki, but now that he’s gone, Kudou has no direction for those feelings. He’s unable to accept himself as he is and is continually striving to be someone he isn’t. Fusako appears as someone to guide his way, and Kiki as a precious memory of his departed friend. Together, they form an intensely dysfunctional and awkward family that finds challenges at every turn, but ultimately, they’re exactly what each needs so that they can heal and move on with their individual yet intensely connected lives. So while Adult’s Picture Book volume 1 is full of self-inflicted pain and sorrow, Kei Itoi has created a beautiful work that sets this trio upon the first steps to healing. Though, with only 3 volumes I’m quite curious to see whether or not Itoi tackles the personal issues that face Fusako and Kiki.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.